photos by Samuel Engelking
The evening started off fashionably late (an hour and a half behind to be precise). The said host of the party, Karla Moy, aka hustleGRL, local writer/blogger, DJ’d for the first few hours keeping the crowd occupied. Shortly before 11, Toronto’s local twin duo A-Game came on.
The boys have been around for some time, opened for the likes of Big Sean, Tyga and Kardinal Offishall, wrote some chart-topping singles and throughout that journey acquired a solid fan base. By the time A-Game got to their claim to fame track “Money Made Me Do It”, the room was in heat, participating in a full-blown singalong.
After a rather detailed full band set up, The Airplane Boys (A.P.B.), Beck Motley and Bon Voyage, took over the stage. And the venue. Don’t let the basic name fool you or their Scarborough upbringing, these two are not the next ‘N Sync. The A.P.B. music repertoire is walking a fine line of pop hip-hop, especially in your headphones, live however, this is some bad shit that will blow your mind. With heavy synths and a pronunciated bass guitar, the live set was shaking bodies from the front to the back. The lyrics are clean-cut and sharp with a solid contrast from Motley to Voyage.
During the break the technical difficulties kicked in. Tre Mission wasn’t able to bring his full band on stage and quite frankly had a daunting expression of disappointment on his face, not filling the set while the crowd was not filling the rapidly falling quality of sound. Having seen Mission before we have a clear idea of his scope of talent, last Thursday night was just bad luck falling in to all the wrong places. Don’t worry Mission, we’ve got faith.
While there were other hip-hop showcases at the CMW, this one felt like home. There is a common feeling around the city, Canada really, that our hip-hop scene is limited to Drake, if it’s there at all. This showcase brought together some local artists who have been around the block a few times and are only a few of those out there today.
The reality is that Toronto has a very alive hop-hop scene, and a very clear, lyrical, razor-sharp hip-hop style that is slowly coming up and out from the underground.